I am a reader. I’ve been a reader since the 1970s. My parents were cool, and bought me a mail-order subscription to a Dr. Seuss book of the month club, from whence I received numerous great books, like MARVIN K. MOONEY WILL YOU PLEASE GO NOW, and THERE’S A WOCKET IN MY POCKET, and IN A PEOPLE HOUSE. They also bought me a record player, and one of my favorite records was a “Read Along With” book of THE HOBBIT. Then, once I got into school, I was thrilled to receive my first RIF book (Reading is Fundamental: sadly, the RIF of Cowlitz County organization, from which I would have received my book in kindergarten, has died. RIP to RIF: 1974-2017…) That first book, which is still one of my favorites, was Maurice Sendak’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. I’ve tried to live by that books teachings, and feel as though I’ve succeeded, for the most part.
Libraries, book stores, book fairs, book-mobiles, growing up, these are a few of my favorite things.
Now, as an old guy, I find I still enjoy books. I still read kids books, still love comic books, love biographies and histories and books on art, music, and strange events, science fiction, horror, "true" ghost stories---all wonderful. I use Victorian literature to fall asleep to at night, and I always have a book in the car for those unexpected moments when I’m forced to wait for a bit. (Secretly, I don’t mind because they give me a chance to read more.)
I am an artist, writer, poet, and editor now, and it should probably come as no surprise to anyone that books (for information, inspiration, and just plain fun) are still essential elements of my life and work. For the last several years (since 2012) I’ve run a web-log, The Primitive Entertainment Workshop, and from time to time, I’ve posted lists of the books and stories that I’ve been reading on that site, partially as a disclosure of my influences and sources, and partially because I want to share the things that I find so enjoyable with the rest of the world. Recently, however, (like within the last few weeks), I started doing something new. I started writing straight-up reviews of the books that I’ve been reading. Unfortunately, those reviews tend to get lost rather quickly in the massive quantity of posts that go up at The P.E.W., and I fear that the book reviews, which are kind of their own thing, tend to drown in the deluge of other art, poetry, fiction, and weird things that I (as editor) post there. It occurred to me that I needed to do a separate site for JUST the book reviews, and so that’s what this is. All about books, all the time!
I hope you enjoy the reviews, and I hope you find the time to read a damn book of your own every now and then!
---Richard F. Yates